Chronicling/An ongoing series highlighting University of Pittsburgh history

Issue Date: 
September 24, 2007


Sept. 24, 1959—During a luncheon address in Pitt’s Schenley Hall ballroom, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev declares that his country will surpass the United States in production within a few years. He also calls for peaceful U.S.-Soviet competition. “Under conditions of tension, the cold war may easily turn into a hot war, into a very hot one, a nuclear war which could not only burn but incinerate. The surest way to avoid this unenviable position is to destroy the means of war,” says Khrushchev, chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Pitt Chancellor Edward Litchfield replies by suggesting that the world’s two most powerful nations “compete in establishing societies in which all men find opportunity to develop their knowledge and their abilities in accordance with their capacities. Societies, both of ours, in which men’s minds are free to explore the universe with no limits imposed upon them beyond those of their own abilities… . I suggest, sir, that the winner in such a competition will not be your country, or ours, but all mankind.”